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good for the sake of Christ, by whose all-perfect Righteousness the Defects of justified Persons are supplied, and by whose most precious Blood their Guilt is washed away.
As for the Works of others; viz. those who are not in a State of Justification by Faith (either because they are not so much as enter'd into Covenant with God by Baptism ; or because, tho’ they have been baptiz’d, yet they have not a juftifying Faith, viz. a Faith working by Love) they do, and must of Necessity continue in their own Nature strictly Evil; and consequently they are Sins. So that even those Works which are good in Appearance, such as the Relief of the Oppressed, Temperance, Justice, &c. and which we may call, either (for the Reason above mention'd) Speciously good Works, or Works comparatively good (becaufe they are less Evil, and approach nearer to the Rule of Action) those very Works, I say, those speciously or comparatively good Works, which either an Infidel, or a bare formal Professor of Christianity may perform, are in Reality Splendida peccata, Acts of Vice under the Disguise of Vertue. For since none of our Actions can be striatly good; and Actions perform’d by fuch Persons cannot be imputatively good: therefore tho' they are speciously or comparatively good, yet by reason of that Imperfection which must needs cleave to them, because 'tis not done away thro’ Christ, they are strictly evil, that is, Sins.
I hope, I have express'd my self so clearly, that the Reader
, throughly understands the foregoing Distinctions and Terms, upon which a great deal depends. I procceed therefore to the Consideration of the Article it felf.
This Article contains Two Propositions. 1. The Condition of Man after the Fall of Adam
is such, that he cannot turn and prepare him . self by his own natural Strength and good Works to Faith and Calling upon
God. 2. We have no Power to do good Works pleasant
and acceptable to God, without the Grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good Will, and working with us, when we have that good Will.
The First Proposition. The Phrase good works does in this Propofition manifestly denote Works that are only speciously or comparatively good. This being premised, see the Fourth Question of the Locus Decimus of Turretin's System.
In the Second Propofition, tho' the good Works are said to be pleasant and acceptable to God, yet the Church does not mean that they are strietly good, and consequently pleasant and acceptable to him in their own Nature: but she manifestly means Works imputatively good, towards the Performance of which God's preventing and assisting Grace is undoubtedly necessary. This being premised, the Second Proposition (which is the necessary Consequence of the First, and is therefore connected by the illative Particle wherefore).is treated of by Lim: borch in the Eleventh and Twelfth Chapters of his Fourth Book, and Dr. Whitby in his Appendix to the Sixth Chapter of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, down to Secondly, to explain as far, &c.:
The E L EVENTH ARTICL E.
Of the Justification of Man.
E are accounted righteous before God, only for
the merit-of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own Works or defervings. Wherefore that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholsom Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as mort largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.
This Article contains Four Propofitions.
for our own Works or Deservings.
for the Merit of our Lord and Saviour Fesus
Cbrift. 3. We are accounted righteous before God, only
for the Merit of our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ by Faith. 4. That we are justified by Faith only, is a most
wholsom Dočtrin, and very full of Comfort, as more largely is expreffed in the Homily of
Juftification. Our Church expresly refers to the Homily of Justification for a more full Explication of the Doctrin of this Article. And what the Church calls the Homily of Justification, is the Third Homily in the-First Book, entituled, of the Salvation of all Mankind. For in the said Homily the. Doctrin of Justification is declared and eitablished ; nor is there any other Homily which bears the Title of Justification. That Homily of Salvation
therefore ought in any wise to be carefully perus’d, before a Man passes a Judgment upon the Doctrin of this Article.
Now whosoever has read the aforesaid Homily, must have observed; 1: That (in how different Senses foever the Word may be used in either Scripture or other Writers) yet our Church does in this Homily, and consequently in this Article also, by Justification most certainly mean being in a State of Favour with God, being accounted righteous before him, having our Sins forgiven, so that they shall not be imputed to us. 2. That when our Church condemns the Doctrin of Justification by Works, she does not deny the Necessity of our living in Obedience to God's Laws, as that without which we cannot possibly be saved ; but the denies, that any Works of ours are strictly good, or have a real Worth of their own, so as to merit or deserve Remission of our Sins upon their own
3. That by Faith our Church means not the bare Act of Believing, as separate from other Instances of Obedience; but a lively Faith, a Faith that works by Love, and is accompanied with every Branch of Gospel Holiness. 4:* That when the asserts and maintains Justification by Faith, she does not mean, that Faith is of it self meritorious, or can deserve Remission of Sins at God's hand ; but that we do by Faith lay hold upon the Merits of Christ, by whom alone our Peace with God is made, and for whose Sake alone we are justified. Faith therefore is the Instrument by which a Man applies to himself the Virtue of Christ's Sacrifice. And consequently, 5. When the Church teacheth Justification by Faith only, she does in reality mean the very fame, as if she had faid, We are justified by Christ only, that is,
to use (a) her own Expressions, We put our Faith in Christ, that we be justified by him only, that we be justified byGod's
free Mercy,and the Merits of our SaviorChrist only, and by noVirtue and goodWorks of ourown,that is in us, or that we can be able to have, or to do, for to deserve the fame:Christ himself onlybeing theCause meritorious thereof.
From whence it follows, that when Justification by Faith, is by our Church oppos'd to Justification by Works, the Word By is used in different Senses, and consequently the Opposition is not exact. For Works are by our Adversaries consider'd as the meritorious Cause of Justification, and the Word By expresses their meritorious Causality: whereas Faith is not by us consider'd as the meritorious Cause of Justification (and consequently the Word By does not express their meritorious Causality) but as the Instrument by which Christ's Satisfaction is applied to particular Persons, and consequently the Word By, when applied to Faith, expresses (what I may call) the instrumental Causality, or the applicatory Cause of our Justification. Wherefore, when our Church faies, we are justified by Christ's Merits only, in Opposition to our Adversaries, who say, we are justified by our own Works (in what Measure or Degree, is another Question) there is a direct Opposition ; and then the Word By in both contradictory Oppositions is used in the same Sense: but not otherwise.
From what has been said, our Church's Intention and Doctrin about Justification by Faith are abundantly manifest, tho they are unhappily worded. And the Truth is, St. Paul having spoken so much of Justification by Faith, in a Sense which the Compilers of our Articles and Homilies do not
(a) Homily of Salvation, Third Part, near the beginning.